Amazon's plan for traffic deaths from same-day delivery: deflect blame to anonymous subcontractors

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I work in the mailroom for a large corporate campus. The Amazon drivers have it much worse than UPS, FedEx and DHL. They are always driving their own private vehicles, and paying their own gas. Are usually overloaded, and generally don’t have any way to sort packages.

Additionally, they’re often sent to our buildings then across the street for one package someplace else, then directly back to us again, sometimes six or more times in a day. There’s practically no optimization to their routing and they have absolutely no ability to correct or self-optimize.


I nearly got rear-ended by an Amazon driver when they first appeared on the road. I was stopped at a stop sign, looked up in my rear view and saw him coming right for me, not slowing down, looking at his smart phone. I hit the gas and zipped around the corner as he zoomed right through the intersection. I later debated “should I have let him hit me and then sued Amazon?” Guess not.


Isn’t this the purpose of the gig economy, to dump all potential liability? Does Amazon really do anything more unfair than Uber, Lyft, Postmates, Instacart, etc, etc or are they just a handy target due to their size?


In fact, those grey/blue “Amazon” trucks are leased to third party delivery companies (some of which basically consist of a single driver), and the drivers are not Amazon employees, despite wearing Amazon uniforms.


I think it’s “handy” in that a win against them that forces them to admit their “contractors” are really employees – and their mistakes, like accidents that kill people, is the responsibility of Amazon – would make any smaller company using those shady practices fall in line. Maybe. IANAL.

History seems to agree that rich people don’t become rich people by being good people, and Jeff Bezos is riiiiiich.

If there’s a corner Amazon can cut, and nobody is watching them, they will cut that sucker. Like a pimp.


Amazon when someone dies: “They’re a fully independent subcontractor. Nothing to do with us!”

Amazon when employees at a “fully independent subcontractor” try to unionize: “Shut that shit down. Now. We can’t have unions at Amazon!”


I wonder if they self-insure, like Uber. Few insurance companies will write policies for that type of business use of a personal vehicle. That’s been a problem since lawsuits from pizza delivery accidents in the '90s.


I have no idea. I just doubt Amazon paid for a fleet of heterogenous late model hatchbacks and soccer mom minivans.


Amazon is our friend, or enemy, depending…

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That which does not kill you, delivers your purchases… and sometimes kills you.


Interesting thought - Could Amazon sue YOU? Suppose something YOU do impedes the delivery…if Amazon sued it would mean they have skin in the game (unless they sue on behalf of the driver, make it out like they’re just helping the little guy through all this legal mess).

Big picture, when was the last time a Fortune 500 CEO had to do hard time for their company’s malfeasance ? (I’m talking 20 years breaking rocks, not a 1 month country club affair)

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Bernie Madoff’s serving 150 years, but that’s just because he was ripping off rich people. I’m not sure the situation you’ve given has ever happened in the US.


And that’s different from FedEX how?

Christ, the repeated conversation of 21st century late-stage-capitalism tech companies:

“We’ve got a serious labor problem!”
“Hmm, how about we make our workers into contractors. Then it’s no longer our problem.”

I wonder if that’s why I keep seeing Amazon deliveries being done from rental trucks like U-Hauls…

One could argue that what they’re doing is more unfair precisely because of their size (and ability to pay). And the other companies have as a defense that their whole (ostensible) purpose is to just be scheduling/payment system middlemen for workers; Amazon doesn’t have that excuse - they’re just looking to reduce costs.


I’m “amused” by such couriers leaving a package on my doorstep and emailing a photo of it to prove it was delivered. My thought is “I don’t care if it was delivered, I want it there when I get home”. On.the front syep it’s so obvious that I do fear someone might grab the package.

But here, the couriers are about a year old. At least before that it had been Cana da Post. The courriers get it here faster (I assume some other distribution method, so the items ate more local), but when they started appearing, I did wonder if they were real ciurrier comoanues, the names I’d never heard of, or if they were independents that only delivered for Amazon.

There seems to be no check box to specify “send by Canafa Post”. It woukd seem that this cheaper than mail, otherwise Amazon would put a surchage on this faster delivery by courrier.

on the rural side of the postal service, most drivers use their own cars, carry their own insurance, but are considered part of the postal service as full-time employees. if they have an accident the postal service claims them and is liable for damages that go beyond the limits of the driver’s insurance. the postal service also pays the rural carriers in their own vehicles a mileage allowance which, by contract and federal tax code, is tax free.


Varies by country. When I lived in the UK I had business use on my car insurance because I occasionally had to drive from one workplace to another. It specifically would have covered me to work as a delivery driver, just not to carry passengers for hire.

On the other hand, my current (Dutch) insurance says I am not covered if I use the car for “courier services or carrying people or items in return for payment”.


The end game is we end capitalism, and ever person becomes regulated as a federal employee. I’m not saying that’s a good idea, but it’s what would happen if companies all decide to play the but-they-are-a-contractor game.

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Insurance companies and regulators in a lot of countries were “disrupted” by the popularity of these services. In many US states, drivers don’t have any option aside from the insurance offered by the delivery service. The one independent company in my area with the proper type of policy charged a very high premium. The problem with relying on the in-house policy is the conflict of interest. Protecting the company is the primary goal, while the passengers/goods and drivers are a distant second or third consideration.

Even with personal auto insurance, there can be disturbing conflicts. If two cars are in an accident and both drivers use the same company for insurance, the outcome may be quite different than when two insurance companies are involved. The consumer has to make sure they follow regulations and push back if it looks like they are attempting to save money at the policyholder’s expense.

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